Okay, enough. Here’s a panel from a cartoon I ran into recently:Ha ha, funny: Yoko Ono – or “Yucko Ohno” OMG I’m pissing myself it’s so clever – broke up the Beatles, and now she’s “pulling apart” cookies. It is of the humor supreme!
First: it’s been nearly forty years – forty years! – since the Beatles broke up, and some morons still haven’t gotten over it. (Some of these morons probably weren’t even born then.) Can we get this straight? Yoko Ono did not break up the Beatles. The Beatles broke up the Beatles.
Before the actual, permanent break-up, both Ringo and George had left for a time. And as anyone who’s seen the movie Let It Be can attest, tensions were running quite high. The band broke up because, unsurprisingly, its members were no longer the same people they were in their teens when they’d gotten together. They’d changed, personally and musically, and clearly needed to separate. The stereotypical (and exaggerated) musical differences between Lennon and McCartney were at their peak, expressed in Lennon’s bitter “How Can You Sleep?” and McCartney’s emotional (some call it sentimental, others call it movingly empathetic) “Dear Friend.” George Harrison was sick of being allowed only two songs on a record – deservedly, as he was on a five-year hot streak of songwriting that would see fruit in his mammoth All Things Must Pass, as well as a couple of the best songs on Abbey Road and a couple of hits he wrote or co-wrote for Ringo (“It Don’t Come Easy” and “Photograph”).
All the Yoko-bashing is worse for being not very subtly sexist and racist as well. If it had been George who’d left first, and he’d done so to collaborate with his buddy Eric Clapton, would there still be “Eric broke up the Beatles” jokes forty years later? There might have been some bitterness and resentment … but it’s okay if a guy breaks up a band. But let a woman do it? God forbid! And a “scary” Japanese woman? Even worse!
For what it’s worth, the Beatles nearly reunited on the Ringo album a few years later (they’re all on it, just never all at once). And John Lennon, in his Playboy interview published in 1980, notes that he and Paul McCartney were both watching Saturday Night Live when Lorne Michaels jokingly offered to pay $3,000 if they’d reunite on the show – an offer they nearly took up on a lark (Lennon said they were too tired to make it to the studio).
If you really want someone to blame – not for breaking up the Beatles but for preventing any reunion – blame Mark David Chapman. Because I think it’s fairly likely that the Anthology sessions would have produced a handful of full-blown reunion tracks … if Chapman hadn’t made that impossible.
But Yoko? No, I don’t think so. But you might be able to blame her for Lennon’s murder … in the sense that Lennon himself has more or less said that she saved his life, that between heroin and post-breakup depression, he might well have not lived past 35. So blame Yoko for being responsible that Lennon was still alive to be killed on December 8, 1980. There – are the Yoko-bashers happy with that?